Watching Comet Lulin

I love the night sky: the star-pictures of the constellations, the waxing and waning of the moon, the great wash of the galaxies.  This week’s close passage of Comet Lulin, a beautiful and spectacular – and scientifically interesting – bit of celestial wonder simply couldn’t be passed by.  Last Tuesday night, the evening of Lulin’s closest approach, I spent two hours lying in my parking lot with a pair of binoculars, drinking it in.  As it turned out, I didn’t watch alone.  Calliope, my stray Muse-kitty took time from her nightly rounds to keep me company.  The poem is my way of holding on to the experience, even as Lulin streams off into the mysterious reaches of space.


Watching Lulin

Green-eyed and aloof,
you prowl down heaven’s alleys      
and lurk on Saturn’s doorstep with singular elegance,
a celestial stray hungry for attention.
Prone beneath your pathway,
stretched across a concrete bed with curbstone for a pillow
I squint and ponder,
consult the charts
and probe your space through time
until I feel the tug
and hear the tiny, worried voice.
An earthling stray has found her friend,
her food,
her solace
not rising tall against the sky but flattened to the ground,
eyes turned upward,
head bent back as though the victim of a fall.
Green eyes flashing,
she nudges at my pillowed head upon the curb,
pushes back my dismissive hand.
Earthbound, insistent,
she bites and tugs my hair as though to pull me upright,
restore her world’s axis
and right a universe gone mad.
Leaving Lulin to her flight
I reach out to grasp this nearer world passing by.
“Look up,”  I murmur as I run my fingers through her fur
and catch the glint of starlight in her eyes.
“A thousand years.”
“A thousand years.”

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